Conferences, speaking engagements, and projects - oh my!
Life has been busy at Envision Lighting Design. I'm going to try to get back into the habit of sharing it all with you here on the blog. There have been many recent inspirations, but I'm going to start with bringing you up to speed on one of my favorite bonus activities - the IES.
This year I am the chairperson of the IES EP Event. This is a day-long workshop designed for students and emerging professionals interested in the lighting field. During the event we provide tons of interaction between seasoned and emerging professionals in lighting. It is truly one of the most energizing and dynamic groups of people I know. This year's EP Event is being held in conjunction with the IES Annual Conference in Pittsburgh on November. 1 The Event will extend beyond our Saturday workshop with ongoing activities and interaction planned throughout the Conference, which will end on Tuesday November 4. If you have any questions about this event, contact me. I absolutely love to talk about it.
As chair of the EP Event, I'm also a part of the IES Annual Conference steering committee. We are busy selecting speakers and planning events for the conference to get just the right balance of education, networking, and entertainment. If you haven't been to an IES Conference in a few years, you should plan to get to this one. The talent we are bringing in this year will blow your mind! This is not your daddy's IES Conference.
Mark your calendars!
Next post: I'll fill you in on our latest St. Louis IES section meetings, and more!
It was another amazing IES Annual Conference! This year, I have to say the pre-conference Emerging Professional Workshop initiated the energy that propelled me through the rest of the conference! If you are not a part of the EP workshop, I feel sorry for you! If you want to be a part of it next year, contact me! We want to host 100 Emerging Professionals next year, which means we need even more experienced lighting professionals to participate and interact during the event
...the pre-conference Emerging Professional Workshop initiated the energy that propelled me through the rest of the conference!
The Sunday night Awards event was beautiful, with a record-setting 29 projects receiving Illumination Awards this year! For me, one of the highlights was seeing my old friend Kelly Jones who received an Award of Excellence for one of her projects. It was also fantastic to see Kristin Peck accept an Award of Distinction! Kristin was an intern when I worked at LDA (a lifetime ago) and her award-winning project was the first one designed by her new firm PrichardPeck Lighting. Congratulations Kelly and Kristin!
Monday morning's keynote address by Ekaterina Walter was on the topic of social media. This is an area where our industry as a whole lags, but I was personally inspired by her talk. There is no B2B; because of social media, business is all P2P. People to people. Number one takeaway: remember to "delight" your audience.
I was mostly attracted to papers and sessions that focused on lighting and health. Asha Hedge spoke about Sensory Processing Disorders and how lighting design - especially for schools - can accommodate students who fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder or have other types of Sensory Processing struggles. The research in this field is minimal. What is available is sometimes contradictory and often based on anecdotal evidence. I believe this is a field which deserves more study, and the more we learn, the better environments we can create for everyone, not just those who have special needs. Lighting is for people. We need to create appropriate environments for all people.
The next general session was a fairly technical discussion about lamp lumen depreciation with LEDs. So many of our old metrics don't apply to LED technology, and we are playing catch-up as the researchers attempt to define new metrics. For example, what LLD factor do we apply to products that increase drive current over the life of an LED to avoid any lumen depreciation? Products with higher drive current could look identical to a lower drive current product at the beginning of life but will depreciate faster. What about driver failure? This isn't a part of a lumen depreciation calculation, but should it be a part of lamp life calculations? This general session was a great illustration of how the conference is turning back toward its "technical conference" roots. That's a great direction for the conference to take, given the speed of change in our industry today!
Lighting is more than meets the eye. The paper session by M. Wei about color preference under LEDs with Diminished Yellow Emission was fascinating. This study took a look at the preferences of people with side-by-side comparisons of two rooms. When energy in the yellow (570-580 nm) part of the spectrum was removed, preference increased - despite a lower CRI. There are currently 22 existing metrics for color quality, but which one or combination is the right one? His summary sentence, "Brightness perception can not be predicted by luminous efficacy." has huge implications. Efficacy is not the end-all be-all? What can we learn about human perception that might allow us to provide better quality of light with fewer lumens? How do our current metrics need to change to reflect this?
The Circadian, Neuroendocrine, and Neurobehavioral Effects of Lighting seminar on Tuesday afternoon, presented by Steven Lockley prompted a great conversation between my eye doctor and me. The crossover between disciplines is becoming more important than ever. Lockley discussed the connection between the newfound photoreceptors in the eye and 440 nanometer light. So, not just any light, but this particular wavelength of light is what helps us set Circadian rhythms. This light impacts our alertness (whether or not we actually feel more alert.) Even blind or rod/cone impaired people can sense light and dark when these photoreceptors are activated. The argument that comes next is, if 440 nm is the ideal wavelength do we need to be sitting around under blue light all day long? Or can warm light sources be enhanced in the 440 nm range?
It's an exciting time to be in lighting design! The more we research, the more we discover how important lighting is. There were plenty more concepts and ideas covered at this conference. There just isn't enough room here to discuss them all. Because of the informative papers and presentations plus the friendships and energy from the Emerging Professionals in our industry, the IES Annual Conference has become a definite "must attend" for me. Hope to see you there next year - in Pittsburgh!
I am looking forward to two upcoming speaking engagements! I will be presenting technical luncheons for two IES sections this month - in Montreal and Toronto. I love visiting Canada and speaking about lighting. Two of my favorite things! It should be a great trip.
At last night's Illumination Awards event in St. Louis I found myself smiling until my cheeks hurt. Thank you, St. Louis lighting community for being energetic, creative, and fun!
I am so grateful for each of you. There are bunches of unique and special individuals in this group, and as a whole we are spectacular!
In the upcoming days we will be posting pictures from the photo booth and quotes from the time capsule on the IES Facebook page and Twitter to stretch out the fun just a little longer...
In the meantime, I'll be working outside on the deck surrounded by my favorite things and enjoying the sparkles of the disco ball!
At the start of my career whenever I attended a meeting, I often found myself to be the youngest person and the only woman in the room. Nowadays I am not typically the youngest person in the room, but all too often I am still the only woman.
Why are there so few women in our profession? And what can I do to make sure the ones there are (or the ones who have been) do not get forgotten?
The architecture community is currently in a bit of an uproar over the fact that Denise Scott Brown was not included in her husband and partner Robert Venturi's 1991 Pritzker Prize Award. In fact, Despina Stratigakos recently wrote a wonderful article about "Unforgetting" Women Architects and Architecture Magazine is challenging its readers to recommend a woman architect for a Wikipedia article to be written by the magazine. I even just learned that Frank Lloyd Wright's first employee was a woman architect.
One of my more popular old blog posts includes a little story about a lighting designer named Lesley Wheel. She was the first female architectural lighting designer, and a great mentor to many people. I think so highly of Lesley's ideas and her work that I'm currently helping to author a book about her design philosophies.
What are you doing to encourage women in our profession? What else needs to change so that the lighting design profession doesn't follow architecture in overlooking this talented segment of our membership? Are we too late? The Wikipedia entry under "Lighting Design" lists 13 men and one woman, the talented Motoko Ishii of Japan. The IES, a 107-year-old organization has only had three female presidents. Maybe lighting designers have some Wikipedia editing to do, as well.
The St. Louis Section of the IES will be pulling out all the stops for the 40th Anniversary of the Illumination Awards.
Now is the time to become a part of the program. Submit your best project from 2012 today!
Submit online at www.ies.org.
As promised, here are my IES Conference notes! If you missed the Conference in Minneapolis two weeks ago, you missed a good one. If you were there, feel free to add comments about the seminars and paper sessions you attended.
For me, the Conference began on Saturday when we hosted 40 students and emerging lighting professionals with a full day of topics designed just for them. We toured an award-winning U of M campus building, had portfolio reviews, and gave everyone time to "speed network" with all kinds of lighting professionals. Our opening keynote speaker is an emerging professional herself - Maja Petric shared her inspirational use of light in her art. Her most architectural work used LED light to pour through cracks in a tunnel ceiling to illuminate the inside of the tunnel. The color temperature and intensity of the light changes throughout the day to mirror the current outdoor light conditions. See that project and more of her beautiful work here. It was her work that inspired me to post this.
When the Conference-proper kicked off on Sunday, we danced the night away to the delightful sounds of Stefan Graf's lighting industry band, Black Body Locusts. Special thank you's go to Naomi Miller for writing hilarious lighting lyrics for the band to sing and to Lance Bennett / Cooper Lighting for sponsoring the band!
The next day the dean of the University of Minnesota School of Design, Thomas Fisher, challenged us to not just problem solve, but problem seek. Design thinking is valuable beyond the making of things. He even wondered if universities should be restructured - not around disciplines, but around world challenges. In this format, the iterative process of abductive reasoning could be put to work: seeing connections between things that are seemingly different. Who knows the discoveries that would follow? Are we defining our industry correctly? Is it lighting? Or perhaps we are in the human productivity business? This led the way for professor Blaine Brownell to describe the lighting immersion project created by his architectural students. They gather all kinds of materials and, working in teams, build a light of some kind. Some of the projects make statements, some are portable, some explore the idea of light as an object that occupies space rather than illuminating it. All of these projects are unexpected and creative. For more from Blaine Brownell, start here then read one of his books.
Next I attended the "LIGHT+ SENIORS Symposium Summary and Review." All I can say is - wow - am I ever sorry I missed the symposium! The Summary and Review was so full of information that I'll revisit this one later in a blog post all its own.
If I thought I was mentally saturated before the "Smart Lighting - Beyond Ordinary" session, I certainly was afterward. This future-casting session covered everything from the invention of LED to synthetic LED skylights (light + video) to the use of blue light "patches" for pain therapy (light + medicine) and of course, the new hue LED from Philips sold in your local Apple store (light + apps.) Light carries information. Imagine one day using our light sources instead of broadband... It's all about the fusion of lighting and other disciplines. Are you catching the theme? The whole conference theme of synapses and connections was repeated through many sessions where interdisciplinary interaction was lauded and encouraged.
Monday night's entertainment was a private screening of the documentary The City Dark. It was fun seeing some of our very own IES Conference attendees (Howard Brandston) on the big screen. The movie itself pits lighting on earth against the night sky's fading natural lights and challenges us to balance the two. Heavy.
The next morning's keynote speaker was Mark Major who picked up the dark sky theme with excerpts from a National Geographic article on Light Pollution. What should we be more afraid of? The dark? Or what we are doing to the night? The work of Speirs + Major is always breathtaking, and hearing this one presentation was worth every penny I spent on the entire conference.
In the next session, I was privileged to introduce my fellow KU alumnus, Zachary Suchara, who spoke on human factors in lighting. When was the last time you considered your humanity as it relates to lighting? Humans are phototropic. Exactly how we experience light varies based on where we live on the planet. Zach had many other fascinating points including this one: In the past 20 years, there have been more new lamp types developed than in all the other years of human history put together. He closed the session with a great case study in which the developers exploited the human factor by turning the building systems into a game. Tenants in the building actually compete with each other to see who can use the least energy. It reminded me a little of watching the gauges on our Toyota Prius to see how many miles per gallon we can get per trip.
The Conference included many more papers, some political pundits, the always-popular Progress Committee presentation, a wonderful Illumination Awards dinner, other Society Awards, and lots of networking. For me, it was one of the best IES Conferences ever. How about for you?
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC